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The Athlete’s Kitchen: 10 Tools of the Trade |

The Athlete’s Kitchen: 10 Tools of the Trade

Set yourself up for success in the kitchen with gear that makes eating healthy fast, fun, and easy.

by Elizabeth Inpyn

Triathletes love their gadgets. From power meters to bike accessories and pool toys, we just can’t get enough. We’d never show up to a race without our full arsenal of gear; the same theory applies in the kitchen.


One of the easiest ways to get healthy or maximize your training is to start cooking for yourself. The more you learn about food and what it does to your body the more likely you’ll lean toward fresh, whole foods. And while getting into the kitchen can seem like a feat at first, having the right arsenal of gadgets will make every meal a cinch to whip up.

First you need to stock up with the right ingredients and fill your kitchen with handy appliances. Some are substantial purchases, and others are tiny tools that will make cooking easier and more fun. You probably already have the basics: pots, pans, good knives, cutting boards, etc. From there, however, allow me to share my ten favorite tools for the athlete’s kitchen.

Blender: A powerful blender is one kitchen tool I just couldn’t live without. From nutrient-dense smoothies to soups, sauces, and creamy frozen desserts, the blender is the workhorse that makes healthy eating “Rinny on the run course” kind of fast! Blender meals are superfood cocktails that foster fruit, vegetable, and healthy fat consumption and also produce filling and portable meals.

Related Article: Bree Wee’s Hawaiian Hydration Smoothie

Spiralizer: A spiralizer gives veggies and potatoes a noodle-like shape and texture which makes them more fun to eat. These noodles can then be added to salads or used as a lower-carb substitute for pasta. Spiralized vegetables are naturally lower in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar, higher in fiber, and totally unprocessed. Incorporating them into your diet not only offers a wealth of health benefits, but can assist you in maintaining a steady weight and getting more vegetables into your meals. For athletes working and training long hours spiralizing is incredibly quick—providing a nutritious meal in a matter of minutes.

InstaPot or slow cooker: If you aren’t on board the slow cooker train, now’s the time to grab a ticket! Throw ingredients into a giant pot, turn it on, and let it work while you’re off training. These devices are super convenient, preserve vitamins and minerals, boost flavor, and produce very budget-friendly meals.

Related Article: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Silicone steamer: Many of the vitamins and minerals found in vegetables are lost with some conventional methods of cooking. Steaming ensures that vitamin B, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, biotin, B12, pantothenic acid, and vitamin C, as well as minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc are retained. A BPA-free silicone steamer is fast, easy to clean, non-stick, and doubles as a colander for straining pasta, boiled potatoes, and cooked grains.

Indoor grill: Even California has days where outdoor grilling doesn’t sound appealing. Indoor grilling encourages smaller portions because you can only fit a quarter as much food on the grill at once. They also don’t require charcoal so you’re not getting the soot and hydrocarbons that can aggravate asthma and allergies. In addition, they make it easy to grill vegetables and leaner cuts of meat. The convenience of having something right in the kitchen might also encourage you to lay off the heavy sauces and take-out and cook at home more often.

Reusable containers: I prefer glass storage containers and have them in all shapes and sizes. Keep things healthy by cutting up a bunch of fruits and veggies at the beginning of the week and prep your make ahead meals for grab-and-go office lunches or ingredients for salads and stir-frys. The clear glass acts as a visual reminder of what you have on hand, too. Whenever you open the fridge, you’ll be greeted by a bevy of fresh produce.

Sheet pan/cast iron skillet: Instead of nonstick pans, which have been shown to release cancer-related toxins, choose cast iron. When seasoned properly, you have a nonstick cooking surface that only gets better with age. You’ll also find that cast iron cooks better since it distributes heat more evenly. Some studies have shown that cooking in cast iron also boosts iron intake. They last longer, too, making them more environmentally friendly. A simple sheet pan is the best all- around utility piece in the kitchen. You can cook an entire meal on one pan, eliminating multiple steps, clean-up, and the stress of managing different dishes. In addition to squash, vegetables, and meats, you can cook eggs, bacon, beans, and healthy baked goods.

Related Article: 5 Sheet Pan Suppers

Salad spinner: Who has time to clean and dry greens? Enter the salad spinner: chop, clean and get your salads ready for the week in two easy steps.

BluApple: How many times have you shelled out cash on fresh fruits and veggies only to find them rotting in your refrigerator before you were able to enjoy them? It’s beyond frustrating—and a waste of money, too. BluApple is a gadget that absorbs the ethylene gas in your fridge that’s responsible for rotting your apples and berries.

Spice grinder: Spices add flavor, which makes them an easy way to cut back on salt and sugar. Depending on the quality, however, a good mix can cost a small fortune. Invest in a grinder to start making your own. Spices are also loaded with health benefits: Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar, sage helps improve memory, turmeric prevents inflammation, and basil boosts immunity. Your grinder can also be used to grind nuts, handy for coating fish, adding crunch to salads, or baking into homemade energy bars.

Some other fun smaller gadgets if you really want to geek out are the Rollie Egg Cooker (quick tube shaped omelets for grab and go breakfasts), the HapiFork (which tells you how many mouthfuls you take, how fast you’re eating and even offers a dashboard to analyze your meal-time performance) and the SmartPlate (a Wi-Fi Bluetooth enabled plate that analyzes everything you eat, sends all the data to an app, and helps manage portion control).

We’ve all heard that the best bodies aren’t made in the gym—they’re created in the kitchen! Get stocked up with the tools you need to achieve a stronger, leaner and healthier you.

Elizabeth Inpyn is a sports nutritionist, former NCAA collegiate swimmer, and triathlete. She’s currently working with endurance athletes, triathlon clubs, coaches and pros to dial in nutrition plans. Visit her website at Inpyn Coaching

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